Statement on Habitat Regulation issues affecting development in Ashford boroughPublished: 29/09/2020
An Ashford Borough Council spokesperson said:
“In mid-July Ashford received formal statutory advice from Natural England (NE) regarding development proposals in the Stour Valley catchment area with the potential to increase harmful nutrient impacts (principally nitrogen and phosphorus) at designated protected lakes at Stodmarsh in Canterbury. This covers large parts of the borough including the urban area in and around Ashford itself.
“In summary, NE’s advice is that a significant adverse effect is possible from some types of new development in the catchment area. This applies mainly to housing development but also other schemes involving overnight accommodation. The council is legally obliged to give significant weight to the views of NE in relation to relevant planning applications.
“The immediate practical effect of the NE advice is that planning applications for housing development (and some other types of development involving overnight accommodation) within the Stour catchment area cannot be determined until a process of formal assessment of the potential effects on the Stodmarsh Lakes has been undertaken, considered and approved by the council.
“In parallel, the council will be working with its partners in central and local government and applicants to draw up a mitigation strategy to address any impacts from development and enable schemes to proceed.”
Cllr Gerry Clarkson, Leader of Ashford Borough Council said: “It is important that this additional planning requirement is seen in context. It is an additional assessment to ensure development is not harmful to the wider environment. As a responsible authority this is a process with which we will wish to comply to ensure our borough and the wider environment in general is protected.”